The CNIB has opened more than a store; they opened doors to independent living.
Located at 1929 Bayview Avenue, the CNIB store provides the visually impaired access to purchase products on the spot.
“(The) store supplies products to help people live independently,” said Sue Marsh-Woods, CNIB’s service manager Toronto.
The CNIB used to have several stores but then decided to move exclusively online but found that many clients liked having a place to come.
“Some clients see it as a social gathering place,” said Paul Ting, managing director, services and operations Ontario for CNIB.
Marsh-Woods said the store was a demo centre where people were able to try out the products before purchasing but there was still the inconvenience of having to wait for it to arrive at the shop.
“The idea of having to come back to get their product is not something seniors were too happy about,” said Marsh-Woods.
The CNIB now has eight stores across the 23 offices in Ontario. The Bayview location is the largest store with over 200 products.
Marsh-Woods explained that there is a misconception that the CNIB services only those who are blind. There is an assortment of products in the store that target to various types of visual impairment.
“Nine out of 10 of our clients have low vision,” she said.
Large-print playing cards, Bingo boards, kitchen utensils, talking clocks and scales are just a few of the many products.
“The sunglasses are really popular,” said Marsh-Woods. She also said that magnifiers are their number one seller.
A new product on the market, the Penfriend, is an audio labeller which allows users to identify objects by recording their own voice on a tag which can be read and played back by the Penfriend device. She said that the staff has general ideas of what people may need but in the end it is up to the individual to decide which product is best fit for them.
“Clients can spend as much time as they need (to choose the right product),” said Marsh-Woods.
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